So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Opelika AL so you can train to be a radiologic technologist. And now that you have made a decision to go into the gratifying field of healthcare, just how do you set about selecting the ideal school and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified practitioner? And because the majority of states do require that x-ray technicians become licensed, depending on where you subsequently practice you might need training to pass a licensing examination. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to compare each program. Most prospective students begin by looking for technical schools or colleges that are within driving distance of their residences. Next, they check tuition and frequently settle on the lowest cost. But while location and cost must be taken into consideration, there are other critical qualifications as well. For instance, you must find out whether or not the radiology tech schools have earned accreditation, or if they sponsor internship programs. These questions and others you should ask the X-ray Tech schools you are reviewing are presented later in this article. But first, let's talk about what a radiologic technician does and the degrees and training options that are available.
Radiology Tech Career Description
There are a number of professional titles for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They can also be referred to as radiologic technicians or technologists, radiographers or radiology techs. Irrespective of the name, they all have the same fundamental job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment. Some radiologic technologists may also administer radiation therapy for the treatment of cancer. Many elect to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, for instance mammography. They may work in Opelika AL hospitals, clinics, private practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray tech might utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers must take care of their equipment and also regularly assess its performance and safety. They are additionally expected to retain detailed records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As health practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Technician Degree Options
The standard prerequisite for attending an x-ray tech school is to have attained a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the choice to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most prevalent among technicians, generally takes 18 months to 2 years to complete based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take more time at as much as four years to complete and is more extensive in scope. Most students select a degree major in Radiography, but there are other related majors that may be appropriate also. One thing to keep in mind is that radiographer programs have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their course of study. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many schools sponsor through local clinics and hospitals in Opelika AL or their region. Once you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must comply with any certification or licensing requirements in Alabama or the state you will be practicing in as applicable.
X-Ray Tech Licensing and Certification
Once you have graduated from an Radiologist school, depending on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do mandate licensing, and their requirements differ so contact your state. At present, all states that do require licensing will accept The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the purpose of licensing, but a number offer additional alternatives for testing as well. Some states also require certification as a component of the licensing procedure, otherwise it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers prefer to hire radiology techs that have earned certification so it may increase your career options in and around Opelika AL to earn certification. ARRT's certification program calls for graduation from an accepted program as well as a passing score on their rigorous exam. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be satisfied with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technician Degrees
As a component of every degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So although you can still obtain your degree online, a large amount of the training will be satisfied either in a school lab or in an internship off-campus. Clinical training is typically carried out in Opelika AL hospitals, outpatient clinics or private practices in sponsorship with the colleges. However the online portion of the training can be attended in the privacy of your home. Students who continue working while earning their degree usually discover that the online approach to learning is far more convenient with their busy schedules. Plus online programs are often less expensive than traditional alternatives. In addition to reduced tuition, expenses for study materials and commuting can be decreased also. But just be sure that the online school you select is accredited (more on the benefits of accreditation later). So if you are motivated enough to learn with this less structured style of training, then online classes may be the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Radiology Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the type of degree that you want to obtain, you can start the process of locating and assessing x-ray tech colleges near Opelika AL. You will also need to decide if you prefer to attend online classes or travel to a local campus. If you choose the latter, then obviously the location of the school will be critical. The cost of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining variable as well. But in addition to location and cost, what else should you factor in when comparing colleges? Well, you need to ask if the colleges are accredited, and if they provide externship or internship programs. To help you find out some of these crucial details before you make your selection, we have compiled a list of questions that you need to ask the schools you are looking at.
Are the Radiology Tech Programs Accredited? Most xray tech colleges have received some type of accreditation, whether regional or national. Nevertheless, it's still imperative to confirm that the school and program are accredited. One of the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Schools receiving accreditation from the JRCERT have undergone a rigorous examination of their instructors and course materials. If the school is online it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Along with ensuring a quality education, accreditation will also help in getting financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited schools. Accreditation might also be a pre-requisite for certification and licensing as required. And a number of Opelika AL employers will only hire a graduate of an accredited school for entry level openings.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Inquire if the xray tech colleges you are interested in have associations with regional clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a great way to obtain practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a way to satisfy the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help students and graduates develop professional relationships in the Opelika AL medical community and assist with obtaining employment.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will most likely wish to hit the ground running after graduating, but finding that first job in Opelika AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Ask if the radiographer programs you are considering have job placement programs and what their success rates are. High and rapid placement rates are an excellent sign that the schools have sizable networks and great relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are highly regarded and sought after.
Where is the School Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will need to be within travelling distance of their Opelika AL residence. Students who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to trouble themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges commonly charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition for those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the sort of student that prefers to sit way in the rear of class or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes permit more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Opelika AL schools you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the radiology tech program as well.
Does the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the xray tech school you ultimately pick can provide the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you decide to continue working while you attend school. If you must schedule night or weekend classes in the Opelika AL area, confirm that they are offered. If you can only attend part-time, verify if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of work, illness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Opelika X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the best radiology tech degree program is an important first step toward beginning a gratifying new career furnishing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiologic technologist must be in good physical shape. X-Ray techs often stand for the majority of the workday and position and in some cases lift the patient to obtain the correct image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay strict attention to detail and to follow the safety guidelines developed to protect both the medical team and the patient. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having social skills is a necessity in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible care to patients. As has been covered in this post, there are several questions that you should ask each school you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. This is just as true whether you enroll in an online school or drive to classes on campus. By asking the right questions you can analyze and compare each program so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the right training and your motivation to be successful, you can realize your goal to work as a radiology tech in Opelika Alabama.